Members' Online Book: Heavy Weather Tactics, Chapter 12 of 20

Determining When Heaving-To Is Dangerous

Member Steve asked an interesting question (edited for brevity).

My question is simple: Why would you ever consider stopping being hove to?

In a John Kretschmer book he was discussing this very point and said, “when heaving to is no longer an option” (loosely remembered). When is that? He did not elaborate at all.

The Pardey’s bridle system, they claim, provides sufficient drag to create a sufficient slick to provide sufficient stoppage of most (all?) breaking waves.

Even Hal Roth in his book, Handling Storms, also completely omits any comment on why someone would stop being hove to.

When the seas get big enough? When the breaking waves become more often? When the slick isn’t enough?

That’s a really good question. The problem is that I don’t know the answer, at least not for sure, and further no one does, as you have discovered in your research.

There are four fundamental problems here that make it impossible to answer your question definitively:

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Meet the Author

John

John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for twenty years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 12 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

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